Shadow Minister and Kavieng MP, Ian Ling-Stuckey, said audited accounts for SOEs and Statutory Authorities, for the 2017 financial year, were not tabled in Parliament by June.
“This was Point 19 of the plan – and becomes yet another broken promise. The Alternative Government would fulfil this promise as it is vital for helping to re-build confidence in the PNG economy,” said the Shadow Treasurer, Ling-Stuckey.
“Budget transparency is a necessary part of a government’s accountability back to its people. The Open Government Partnership meeting held in Port Moresby this week considered PNG’s poor and declining performance on budget transparency.
“Indeed, PNG only got 50 out of 100 in its score overall – a drop from 55 in 2015. In the area of public participation in the budget, the score was only 6 out of 100 – matched by communist China!”
He also pointed out that PNG performed poorly in areas such as budget oversight by the parliament and audit bodies.
“A lack of such transparency creates the opportunity for corruption and poor use of our people’s taxes,” stated Ling-Stuckey.
“There has been a lack of transparency on how our vital SOEs and statutory authorities are operating.
“Why has Kumul Petroleum apparently got audited statement for 2014 and 2015, but these have not been tabled in parliament? Furthermore, where is the 2016 and 2017 audited statements promised under the 100 day plan so we can see if the huge gap between reported tax payments and actual tax payments has continued?
“The 2016 report for Kumul Minerals indicated it had made a net loss of K354 million in 2016 and its liabilities were now greater than its assets. How much did they lose in 2017?
“Where are the reports on key SOEs such as PNG Power, MVIL, PNG Ports, Telikom, Water PNG, the National Development Bank, Air Niugini, Post PNG, and bmobile?
“Where are the statements from statutory authorities such as the Mineral Resources Authority, the National Airports Corporation, the National Fisheries Authorities (vital for understanding the extra “sweep” revenues), the National Forest Authority and many others?
“The people of PNG have a right to know what is going on,” said Ling-Stuckey.
He further said the Alternative Government welcomed this commitment for transparency, although they also wanted previous statements to be immediately tabled in Parliament and would have preferred 2017 statements to have been made earlier.
“This is an appalling performance. The Alternative Government would dramatically improve budget transparency and supports recommendations for change from the 2017 Open Budget Survey, such as allowing the people of PNG more participation in the budget process through CIMC type councils extending down to district levels.”